Happy Anniversary: Man they couldn't hang

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The Independent Culture
SOME of the dates in the coming week that you might otherwise have forgotten.

21 February

1764: John Wilkes MP is expelled from the House of Commons for publishing 'an impious libel' entitled The Essay on Women.

1858: Edwin Holmes of Boston, Massachusetts installs the world's first electric burglar alarm.

1947: The age of the soap opera begins with the first instalment of A Woman to Remember on American television.

1988: The grave of Boadicea is located under platform 8 at King's Cross station in London.

22 February

1797: A 1,400-strong French invasion force lands in Britain at Fishguard, but they are soon overpowered and captured.

1819: The US buys Florida from Spain.

1879: F W Woolworth opens his first 'nothing over five cents' store in Utica, New York.

1989: The Ministry of Health in Finland recommends 'sex holidays' to recover from stress in an erotic atmosphere.

23 February

Death of two US presidents: John Quincy Adams (1848) and Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1924).

1836: Siege of the Alamo begins.

1874: Major Walter Wingfield patents a new game, 'Sphairistike', later to catch on as lawn tennis.

1885: John Lee survives three attempts to hang him at Exeter Prison, when the trapdoor fails to open. Released in 1917, he lived until 1933.

1915: Sarah Bernhardt has her right leg amputated, but is back on stage by the end of the year.

1956: The West German army bans the goose step.

24 February

303: Persecution of the Christians is formally begun by an edict of Galerius Valerius Maximianus.

1920: Lady Astor becomes the first woman to speak in the House of Commons when she opposes the abolition of the Liquor Control Board.

1938: Nylon-bristled toothbrushes go on sale in New York, the first nylon products in shops.

25 February

1570 The 'usurper', Queen Elizabeth I, is excommunicated by Pope Pius V.

1862: 'Greenbacks' - dollars 1 bills - are introduced by Abraham Lincoln.

1922: Birth of Donald MacLean, Scottish potato expert who amassed the world's largest potato collection with 367 varieties.

1946: First post-war bananas arrive in Britain. A Bridlington girl dies after eating four.

26 February

1531: Lisbon earthquakes leave 20,000 dead.

1797: First pounds 1 note issued by the Bank of England.

1936: Hitler launches the Volkswagen, the people's car, designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

1952: Churchill tells the House of Commons that Britain has an atom bomb.

27 February

1557: The first Russian embassy is established in London.

1897: The first decorated wedding car is seen in Paris.

1960: The state of Connecticut bans Playboy from newsagents.